Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Flash sends off another original cast member in appropriately goofy fashion

Carlos Valdes is moving on and taking Cisco Ramon with him

Carlos Valdes
Carlos Valdes
Photo: Bettina Strauss (The CW)

The Cisco Ramon farewell tour finally concludes in “Good-Bye Vibrations,” which mostly manages to find the right tone for his sendoff. There are sentimental moments, because this is The Flash and that’s always going to be part of the package. But this is not an angst-ridden departure, or an attempt at a heart-rending final bow in which Cisco sacrifices himself to save the team/the city/the multiverse (though it briefly feints in that direction). At his best, Cisco brought humor and heart in equal measure to Team Flash, and that’s how he departs it.

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Cisco’s announcement that he’s taking a job with Argus in Star City certainly doesn’t preclude Carlos Valdes from making the occasional guest appearance, and at first it doesn’t appear to faze the rest of Team Flash at all. Instead of the tearful farewell he’s expecting, Cisco mostly gets an indifferent response, except from Chester, who is thrilled to be introduced to the STARchives, home of the speed treadmill, Captain Cold’s gun, the Thinker’s chair, and other artifacts from seasons past.

A chance for the O.G. Team Flash (minus Thawne/Wells, of course) to solve one last case emerges when Rainbow Raider 2.0 strikes. Carrie Bates is a former collections agent who uses her meta powers to infuse people with euphoria, as she demonstrates on a loans officer who cheerfully writes a check for $10 million out to cash. As it turns out, Rainbow Raider 2.0 is awesome; she’s a modern day Robin Hood who steals a blimp in order to drop cash and jewels on the poor people of Central City. It’s a little hard to root for our heroes in this scenario, even though Barry tries to make it right by arranging for her to serve out her sentence as part of the mayor’s economic development team. (That’s a thing? The Flash can arrange that? Okay!)

The villain isn’t really the point of the episode, just a vehicle for Cisco to vent his feelings about feeling unappreciated and for Carlos Valdes to get really goofy one more time. When Cisco is blasted with Rainbow’s euphoria lightning, he starts singing, dancing, and sending cat memes to Barry’s Flash suit when he’s in the middle of trying to fight crime. Barry gets zapped too, and soon he’s back at STAR Labs laughing it up and breakdancing at super-speed. Anytime Grant Gustin gets one of these rare opportunities to break free of mopey Barry and cut loose, he looks truly liberated. The show’s characterization of Barry Allen has really boxed him in, and it takes moments like this to show what a disappointing choice that is.

Jesse L. Martin, Grant Gustin
Jesse L. Martin, Grant Gustin
Photo: Bettina Strauss (The CW)

Chester proves his utility to the revamped Team Flash by using Cisco’s tech to create a device that will stop Rainbow long enough for Barry to cuff her, but it’s up to Cisco as Mecha-Vibe to save the day by piloting the blimp to safety. No surprise that the rest of the team does appreciate him after all, but were just putting on a brave face to make their parting less painful. In his last minutes at STAR Lab, we get a quick montage of classic Cisco moments from over the past seasons (including his naming of many Flash rogues), and it’s a rare moment of feeling the weight of all the years the show has been on the air.

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So let’s raise a glass to Carlos Valdes. His commitment to the show may have been spotty over the past couple of years, but who could blame him? Cisco was one of the key ingredients when The Flash was at its best, and the likeability and comic timing of Valdes were a huge part of that. The best scene is saved for last, as Cisco hands out a few of his treasured Comicon t-shirts for the gang to remember him. After that, it’s karaoke time, with Cisco, Barry, Caitlin, and even Joe teaming up for a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” This feels like a scene straight out of a wrap party from seasons past, a tribute to both character and actor, and the best possible sendoff as the genuine camaraderie is palpable. Carlos and Cisco, you’ll both be missed.

Stray observations

  • Oh, and Kamilla is also leaving. Does anyone have a favorite Kamilla moment? It’s certainly not Victoria Park’s fault that the writers never really got a handle on this character in any memorable way.
  • “You suck forever but I love you anyway.” Frost really is a softie underneath it all.
  • Carrie Bates is a reference to DC Comics writer Cary Bates, who wrote many issues of The Flash, including one from 1979 in which Iris is killed.
  • Next week: creepy Cecile shenanigans.
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